Cookening opens up to the public to turn your home into a restaurant

Cookening opens up to the public to turn your home into a restaurant
Innovation

Team-Cookening

Today, Paris startup Cookening has opened up its “Airbnb for your kitchen” to the public, allowing anyone to taste the fine local cuisine of their neighbor or a local. Founded by CEO Cedric Giorgi (30€/meal to eat at his Paris apartment), CTO Sebastien Guignot(25€/meal) and CPO Julien Pelletier, the Paris startup has been in private alpha for six months, with 1500 registered users signed up so far. Now open to the public, Cookening will still be focusing on creating a superfluous number of hosts in the Paris region (want to eat with me?), but will be allowing international travelers to easily sign up for a meal.

table2Launching in Paris may have been one of the smartest moves for Cookening – founder Cedric Giorgi, who previously helped organize LeWeb, and spoke on a panel at SXSW last year, could have easily launched the company elsewhere, but Paris has a very strong collaborative economy culture, with companies like Airbnb seeing the French capital as a key location even today. The platform hopes to streamline interaction between hosts – whether professional cooks looking to create an intimate experience in their kitchen, or social eaters who wouldn’t mind sharing some pasta and a tarte aux pommes with friends – and visitors.

“The  purpose  of  Cookening  is  not  online,  it  is  off  the screen during a meal  with  real  people.  We’ve  thought  the  entire  user  experience  of  the  site  in  this direction.  Whether  the  feature  to  build  trust  between  hosts  and  guests,  the  table publication  system  or  the  payment  and  booking  process,  everything  has  been developed on Cookening so it is simple and intuitive to use for the end user. ”

-Julien Pelletier, CPO

Hosts can choose the price of their meal, the number of people allowed, as well as the time of the meal; much like Airbnb, the experience for each ‘restaurant’ page is about creating a personal relationship between the host and the visitor.

Underneath the hood, the payments system has been powered by MangoPay, the payments API released by Leetchi earlier this year. The company will be taking a 20% fee on top of what hosts will charge, which is a little higher than Airbnb or Blablacar’s 3-5% charge, but I’m sure this price will come down as the market grows. Cookening will be going up against competitors like Barcelona’s Social Eaters, which is a social network based around organizing food events in restaurants and public homes.

I’ve known Cedric for quite some time, and I am quite optimistic and curious to see how Cookening will evolve and grow. Equally, CTO Sebastien has been involved in several startups as well. Additionally, I find the idea quite novel, and may be testing it out myself in the future. So, what are you waiting for? Hop on and come share a meal!

8 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Jim Haynes

    I have been hosting dinners in my home for the past 35 years. Every Sunday a different chef. Some 150,000 guests and still climbing. Google After Eight mints and my name and you will see a typical dinner. Jim (Haynes)

  2. Avatar
    David Boucard

    What’s the differenciation with Voulezvousdiner, besides the English-sounding name ?

    • Avatar
      David Boucard

      I love the idea, but charging 20% for the service is through-the-roof on my opinion….

    • Avatar
      Cédric Giorgi

      Hello David,

      The idea is analog between us and Voulezvousdiner: we’re trying to organize home cooked meals. That said, the platforms and philosophies are different. Plus, we’re all starting, so the differentiation will come from our execution, the branding, the community we’ll create.

      Regarding our fee, we’re adding 20% on top of what hosts ask, so from the guest perspective, it’s 16,7% of what they pay. So far we hadn’t any complaint about it, but if it happens, we might reconsider it (As a comparison, the competitor you talked about, started by organizing dinner that costed 65€ and they kept 40€ for them, giving 25€ back to the host. I’ll let you do the maths)

      Cédric

    • Avatar
      David Boucard

      Thanks for the explanations Cédric, that’s great from you. If voulezvousdiner has not been able to secure a very dominant position in two years of existence, that means you have a clear chance and that’s all I wish for you 🙂 Maybe the market was not mature 2 years ago though.

      Regarding the fees, I guess it will all depend on your positioning and the median pricing of dinners. At first, for example, Airbnb was meant to find places with a great price/quality ratio, and now we can find upper scale spots.

      Do you plan to scale internationaly fast ?

      Anyway I wish you the best, that’s a good idea 🙂

  3. Avatar
    nickyvvd

    Hi David,

    I bumped into this article by chance and read your comments.

    Wow… time flies, 2 years passed! VoulezVousDiner is doing quite well in 2015.

    Just wanna say thanks for mentioning us in the comments. That’s quite surprising.

    All the best,

    VoulezVousDiner
    Community manager
    Nicky

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